I encourage you to keep up with the adventure of Fletcher alum Charlie Scott and his two children, but they’re not the only ones taking unusual trips this summer. Consider Alex Wise and Colin Wood, both 2011 grads, who describe their upcoming trip below. I know I’ll be following their progress, and I’ll provide updates via the blog.
With each successive trip, the ante is upped: for Alex, first it was backpacking in Europe, then climbing Kilimanjaro; for Colin it was editing a Sumatran guide book and then moving to Algeria. Colin and Alex (collectively known as Team Fletch) graduated from Fletcher this past May.
A bit older and a bit wiser, we’ve decided to tackle a new challenge — a road rally, or more specifically, the Mongol Rally. The Mongol Rally is an adventure-quenching, bone-rattling 10,000 mile drive across three deserts, five mountain ranges, and fifteen countries. The Rally begins in Prague and ends roughly six weeks later in Ulanbaator, Mongolia roughly six weeks later. The only real rule is that vehicles must be tiny — with an approximate engine size of 1.2 liters (think your grandmother’s car) — otherwise it would be too easy.
The Mongol Rally is a charitable event and Team Fletch is raising money for two worthy organizations. The Christina Noble Children’s Foundation supports Mongolian street children, and the Afghan Scholar Initiative (ASI) provides high school and university scholarships to top Afghani students. ASI is special to us as we’ve both worked in Afghanistan, and our friend and Fletcher classmate, Qiam Amiry, founded the organization.
For the 300 rally cars that have entered, there is no set route, no winner, no adoring fans, no support, and not many paved roads. Our planned route will take us from Prague eastward to Central Asia and through the (affectionately dubbed) “-stans” (except Afghanistan & Pakistan). Along the way, we’ll visit cities that evoke grandeur of old — Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad, home to Mother Russia, the tallest statue in the world), Samarkand (trading post on the Silk Road visited by Marco Polo); and Sevastopol (popularized by Lord Tennyson and site of the Charge of the Light Brigade). This will be our first rally experience and, with limited navigational sensibilities, and zero mechanical know-how, it will be a true pedal to the metal test of whether charm, book smarts, and a lot of travel experience is actually enough to reach Mongolia via tiny vehicle. As the Rally kicks off on July 25th, follow our progress at teamfletch.org where an interactive map will receive location updates every ten minutes.